It’s Saturday. Usually this is a day of fun and relaxation. Unfortunately, not for me. My day started with the fact that I had to go to work today. Not so much fun. Then I leave work and go home only to feel absolutely crappy and YAY…I think I came down with a freakin summer cold. Bleh. Oh well, some juice, soup and medicine will help with that. There is some good news to this day. I do get to watch a giant monster movie today so that should help. So on with today’s movie, The Host.
The plot: In South Korea, an American pathologist orders his assistant to ignore protocol and empty hundreds of bottles of formaldehyde into the sink. The toxic chemicals eventually drain into the Han river where, months later, fishermen begin noticing mutated creatures in the river. Six years later, Gang-du, a somewhat slow-witted man, operates a snack shop with his father, Hie-bong, and his daughter, Hyun-seo. One day, he is delivering some food to some customers when he sees a crowd of people staring at a strange creature hanging underneath a nearby bridge. The creature dives into the river but when the crowd tries baiting it back by throwing food into the river, the creature comes ashore and runs amok through the crowd. Gang-du and another man, an American military officer on leave, try to stop the creature, but only succeed in angering it, causing the creature to attack the American and chase after Gang-du. Seeing his daughter, Gang-du grabs her hand and runs, but when he trips, he accidentally grabs the wrong girls hand and is forced to watch helplessly as the creature grabs Hyun-seo and dives back into the water. During a mass funeral for the victims, Gang-du and his father are joined by the rest of their family, his sister, Nam-joo, and his brother, Nam-il, when government officials and American military quarantine all of the people who have come in contact with the creature, claiming the creature is the host for a deadly virus. While at the hospital, Gang-du receives a call from Hyun-seo, who says she is alive but trapped deep in the sewers. Gang-du and his family escape from the hospital and after Hie-bong obtains a truck and some supplies, they go looking for Hyun-seo in the sewers. Meanwhile, two brothers are stealing some food when they are attacked by the creature. The creature returns to it’s lair and regurgitates the two boys, but when Hyun-seo checks the bodies, she finds that only the youngest one, See-joo, is still alive. The creature then attacks Gang-du and his family while they are eating at their snack shop, killing Hie-bong as he tries to buy time for his family to escape. Gang-du is recaptured by the military while Nam-joo and Nam-il get separated. Nam-il tries to get help from a friend in tracking Hyun-seo through her cell phone, and succeeds in getting the general area of where she is.However, his friend has turned him in to the police for a reward and Nam-il is forced to escape, but manages to text the location to Nam-joo and Gang-du. Nam-joo enters the sewers looking for Hyun-seo, but she is attacked by the creature and knocked into a hole, where she winds up unconscious. After being interrogated and operated on, Gang-du escapes from the hospital and heads to the sewers to look for Hyun-seo. Back in the sewers, Hyun-seo tries making a rope to escape from the sewers but when the creature shows up. she attempts to hide with See-joo, but the creature lunges at them and swallows them both. Gang-du makes it to where Hyun-seo should be but as he climbs down into the sewer, he sees the monster pass by overhead, with Hyun-seo’s arm hanging out of it’s mouth. As he gives chase, he meets up with Nam-joo and they both run after the creature as it heads towards a group of protesters that are protesting the military’s use of Agent Yellow against the creature. As the creature attacks the protesters, Agent Yellow is released and it appears to have an effect on the creature, allowing Gang-du to pull Hyun-seo and See-joo from it’s mouth, but only See-joo managed to survive. Gang-du proceeds to attack the with a metal pole but he is knocked aside. Nam-il proceeds to throw moltov cocktails at the creature to chase it away from Gang-du. When the homeless man that helped Nam-il pours gasoline on the creature, Nam-il tries throwing his last moltov at it but drops the bottle. Nam-joo takes the flaming rag and sticks it to an arrow, which she fires into the creature’s eye, setting it ablaze. The creature attempts to flee into the river but Gang-du uses the pole to impale it through the mouth, finally succeeding in killing the creature. Some time later, Gang-du is shown reopening the snack shop and raising See-joo.
The Host received critical acclaim from the critics, earning a 93% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. One critic said that it was “a loopy, feverishly imaginative genre hybrid about the demons that haunt us from without and within.” The film was a big success in Korea, becoming the country’s all time, box office leader before the end of it’s theatrical run. It would also go on to win several awards, primarily in Korea and Asia. It only had a limited release in the U.S., where it earned a little over $2 million, but it would earn over $89 million worldwide.
This was a really good movie. Dubbing aside, the acting was a lot better than I was expecting, to the point that the main actors really showed their characters emotions. The story was pretty unique, for a monster movie, and it was well written. There were several humorous moments in the movie and a couple of scenes that could be considered anti-American, but they actually went with the direction the movie was going in and helped with the story. As far as the monster goes, it had a pretty unique look to it and the CGI used was really good and didn’t make the creature look out of place when it was with the actors. I also liked the way it would use it’s tail to help move across the sewers and bridges by swinging from beam to beam. A surprisingly good monster movie that is worth watching.
Rating: 3 1/2 out of 5